Historical marker #2604 honors Sergeant Charles Clinton “Chalkie” Fleek, Boone County, Kentucky’s only United States Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Sergeant Fleek was born on August 28, 1947 in Petersburg, Kentucky. He was known in Petersburg as a typical boy who liked to hunt and fish with friends on the Ohio River. Fleek left school to work and become a volunteer firefighter with the Petersburg Fire Department. He was drafted in the Army from Cincinnati, Ohio in January 1968 and was deployed to Vietnam in July. Fleek served in the U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in South Vietnam.
On May 27, 1969, in Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Sergeant Fleek distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader in Company C during an ambush operation. Other units were tasked with driving the North Vietnamese Army towards the unit. The platoon’s orders, due to their forces being much smaller than the North Vietnamese’s, were not to fire without reason. The unit was deployed in ambush locations when a large combatant force approached the unit’s position. The leading North Vietnamese group, sensing the ambush, began to withdraw. Fleek immediately reacted. He began shooting and directed the fire of his men toward the North Vietnamese Army’s position.
During the battle, a North Vietnamese Army soldier threw a grenade into Fleek’s squad position. When he realized his men had not seen the grenade land amongst them, Fleek shouted a warning to his comrades and threw himself on the grenade, even though his position would have allowed him to seek cover, absorbing its blast. His actions saved the lives of and prevented injuries to eight U.S. soldiers.
For his bravery, President Richard Nixon awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Fleek. The Fleek family traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the Medal of Honor at the White House. Chalkie was decorated for his valor during the Vietnam War, receiving Bronze and Silver Stars, 2 commendation medals and a Purple Heart in addition to the Medal of Honor. Sergeant Fleek is buried in Petersburg Cemetery. A section of Kentucky Route 20 in Petersburg, Sgt. Charles “Chalkie” Fleek Memorial Highway, and the Boone County Administration Building have been dedicated to him to ensure his heroic actions live on and future generations recognize and remember this Boone County hero.
Charles Clinton Fleek (1947-1969)
Sergeant Charles Clinton
“Chalkie” Fleek was born on
August 28, 1947 in Petersburg, KY.
He served in the U.S. Army 25th
Infantry Division in South Vietnam
and is the only Medal of Honor
recipient from Boone County. Fleek
was decorated for his valor,
receiving Bronze and Silver Stars,
2 commendation medals and
a Purple Heart.
Medal of Honor Recipient
On May 27, 1969, in Binh Duong
Province, Vietnam, a North
Vietnamese Army soldier threw a
grenade into Fleek’s squad
position. He threw himself onto
the grenade, absorbing its blast &
saving 8 U.S. soldiers. Fleek was
posthumously awarded the Medal
of Honor by President Richard
Nixon on February 16, 1971.
Kentucky Veterans Program Trust Fund
This marker was dedicated on November 12, 2019.